Chicago Cubs

Marcus Stroman opts out of final year of Chicago Cubs contract after White Sox decline Tim Anderson’s $14M option

Chicago Cubs

Marcus Stroman opts out of final year of Chicago Cubs contract after White Sox decline Tim Anderson’s $14M option

Chicago Cubs and White Sox fans knew there would be plenty of new faces in 2024, and learned Saturday that two former All-Stars are on their way out of town.

Cubs starter Marcus Stroman opted out of the final season of his three-year, $71 million contract, according to multiple reports, while the Sox declined Tim Anderson’s option, making the shortstop a free agent.

Neither move was a huge surprise, though Stroman was set to make $21 million in 2024, an amount that could be difficult to match after a subpar season ravaged by injuries. Stroman, 32, was dominant in the first half, going 9-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 19 starts and earning an invitation to the All-Star Game, which he declined to attend.

Stroman was vocal about the lack of contract extension negotiations, which ultimately proved to be a wise decision by the Cubs. After a hip injury followed by a mysterious right rib cartilage fracture while rehabbing the hip, Stroman went 1-3 with an 8.63 ERA in the second half. The decision to insert him into the rotation down the stretch caused the Cubs to fall out of the wild-card spot. He lasted just two innings in a September 28 loss at Atlanta that effectively ended the Cubs’ chances of making the postseason.

Anderson, 30, once marketed on Sox billboards as the “face of the franchise,” had a $14 million option that was declined for a $1 million buyout.

In eight seasons with the Sox, Anderson slashed .282/.312/.422 with 98 homers, 338 RBIs and 117 stolen bases in 895 games. The Sox selected Anderson with the No. 17 pick in the 2013 draft. He led the majors with a .335 batting average in 2019, a season in which his bat flip drew national attention.

Anderson averaged .318 with a .820 OPS from 2019-22. His walk-off home run against the New York Yankees in the 2021 Field of Dreams game was perhaps the high point of the Sox’ rebuild.

Anderson was voted a starter for the 2022 All-Star Game. His season was cut short after surgery on his left hand in early August.

He had a career-worst season in 2023, hitting .245 with one home run and 25 RBIs for a 101-loss team, and was seemingly unhappy all year. Still, the fact that the Sox won’t let him go at all suggests they don’t believe he’ll fit into the clubhouse culture they’re trying to create.

The disappointing season included serving a five-game suspension after an Aug. 5 brawl with the Cleveland Guardians. He collected his 1,000th career hit at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 3.

In addition to Anderson, the Sox announced Friday that they declined closer Liam Hendricks’ $15 million club option. His deal included a $15 million buyout to be paid in 10 equal installments from 2024-33.

Hendricks revealed in January that he was beginning treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, later detailed to be stage 4. He completed treatment on April 3 and announced on April 20 that he was cancer-free.

Hendricks went 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA and one save in five relief outings before Tommy John surgery on August 2. The initial timetable for recovery was 12-14 months, meaning he would miss most if not all of the 2024 season.

Sox starter Mike Clevinger declined his $12 million mutual option on Friday, and the team outrighted outfielders Clint Frazier and Trace Thompson to Triple-A Charlotte.

Stroman’s news came a day after slugger Cody Bellinger declined his $25 million option with the Cubs. The 2019 NL MVP will test the free-agent market in a bounce-back season. Bellinger had a $12.5 million salary in 2023 and a $5 million buyout.

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